The CAB promise and its repercussions

Wednesday, 20 January 2021



The CAB promise and its repercussions

Swapnil Bharali | April 13, 2019 13:26 hrs

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a massive election rally in Bengali-dominated Silchar on Thursday, has once again reiterated his promise of bringing in the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 if voted to power. Apparently, as per his words, it is being done as a correction of the misdeeds of the Congress Party since the division of the country in 1947. However, in a note of appeasement of local sentiments, he added that “the step will be taken amassing opinions of the people of the state…” Strangely, in Assamese-dominated Kendukona, he chose to be silent on CAB.

Now, we understand that election promises are essentially made to be broken. But this CAB promise looks a bit too serious to be ignored. Further, news reports from this Silchar rally also suggest that the PM chose to ignore the government notification that barred citizenship to anyone entering India after December 31, 2014. In a way, it can be interpreted that this notification and the date (which is not part of the CAB in its current shape), could well be changed to suit the BJP government that is hoping to come to power again.

So what can the repercussions of such a step be internally, particularly in Assam? If the protests and agitations of the recent past are of any indication, we will definitely have a replay of all those. Whipped up local sentiments, clear division between the Brahmaputra Valley and the Barak Valley, the BTAD stance etc will leave the state fragmented for the fear of absorbing lakhs of people - essentially foreigners who happen to be Hindus - in this state which has seen enough of usurpation. 

But what about the repercussions in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan where minorities like Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians are targeted for religious persecution and for whose rehabilitation the CAB has been designed? It is practical to assume that should the CAB be implemented and enacted into law, such persecution might well be stepped inhumanly in these three countries simply because India would welcome the persecuted minorities as citizens.

The shrill election rhetoric apart, PM Modi, if back in power, would do well to tread with caution regarding CAB and explain the prudence (if any) of implementing it in clear terms rather than the bulldozing stunt he had attempted last time.

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